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How To Safely Travel This Summer

How To Safely Travel This Summer

Last summer, travel fell to its lowest level in 20 years as we all hunkered down at home through the height of the COVID crisis. But now that vaccines are more widely available, there’s some hope that summer 2021 could include vacations. The CDC recently updated their travel guidance to say that fully vaccinated people can travel safely within the U.S. That means that many families are beginning to dip their toes back into family vacation planning. So, if you do travel this summer, how do you do it safely?

Your safest bet is to keep your plans within the United States. National parks, beaches and campgrounds are some of the safest and most popular destinations for families this year. While children still aren’t eligible for the vaccine, outdoor destinations provide lots of opportunity for adventure and make it easier to stay away from crowds.

Your biggest risk during a trip will be traveling to and from your destination. If you have to fly, expect to wear a mask throughout the airport and on the plane. Many flights are completely full, so don’t count on distancing on the plane itself. You will also have limited choices for beverages and snacks – no alcohol allowed. If flying feels too risky, road trips are a safe way to reduce the risk of contracting COVID, and it can give you the opportunity to experience parts of the country you haven’t before. Just be extra cautious when stopping for snacks, gas or bathroom breaks. Carry hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes with you, and sleeping accommodations.

Once you reach your destination, you’ll find that most hotels have also shifted their services and activities for COVID. Be prepared to wear a mask in all public areas – maybe even including the pool and hotel gym. Call and ask about your hotel’s policies and closures before you go so you aren’t surprised when the kids club is closed or your room isn’t cleaned every day.

International travel is a bigger risk. Most of Europe and Australia are only allowing U.S. citizens to visit if vaccinated (which leaves out kids under 16 years old), and other countries require testing and/or quarantines upon arrival. But with a little planning, you can visit much of the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada or Central America. Depending on where you go, you may be required to present a negative test or proof of vaccination upon arrival. And no matter where you travel, you will have to test negative for COVID to reenter the U.S. The biggest risk of international travel is you or someone in your family contracting COVID in a foreign country and being required to quarantine or be treated in an unfamiliar location. Pack heavy and be prepared to stay an additional two weeks, just in case. Guidance is changing quickly, so be sure to check the State Department website for the latest travel advisories and requirements.

Ultimately, the safest best is to stay close to home this summer, but if you do decide to venture out, don’t let your guard down. Research the area you’re visiting before you go and have a plan in case anyone in your family gets sick.